High production costs could lose Kenya its competitive edge in coffee, tea and flower exports to the UK

Flamingo Horticulture
Some of the many employees of Flamingo Horticulture preparing flowers for overseas markets. Photo; Twitter/UKinKenya

The high cost of production compared to other exporters could result in Kenya losing its competitive edge in exports of coffee, tea and flower exports to the UK.

According to a report by Overseas Development Institute in partnership with Export Promotion Council (EPC) Kenya appears to be ceding its share of the market to rivals such as Rwanda, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe.

Kenya’s cut flower business is losing out to Ethiopia’s flourishing floriculture, to Rwanda on fermented black tea and Cote d’Ivoire coffee.

Overseas Development Institute senior researcher Aarti Krishnan believes that Kenya government “has to step in and address standards, cost of production and offer incentives to remain relevant in the UK market.”

Illustrating her point, she highlighted the case of Ethiopia which has offered incentives to farmers and exporters in the form of subsidised freight charges to European markets.

“There has been stiff competition that has affected the value of goods that we export to the UK market and this report is aimed at helping us to restore our share,” said EPC chief executive officer Peter Biwott.